1. Please Stop Telling Me To Leave My Comfort Zone

    comfort zone

    Raise your hand if you’re sick of hearing that life begins at the edge of your comfort zone. I know I am.

    It is impossible to escape the gurus and influencers on social media who preach that choosing safety is self-sabotage. That without getting uncomfortable on a daily basis, I’ll never get anywhere in life, my lack of courage realized.

    “It’s never as scary as it looks,” the Stanford grad student Yubing Zhang chants in a widely viewed TEDx talk, Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone — one of several talks on this theme that the influential conference has given a platform to.

    When you stay in your comfort zone, “you maintain flawed beliefs about yourself or you hold on to guilt and self-doubt”, the bestselling leadership writer and motivational speaker Jack Canfield says.

    “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there, is a popular graphic post on Instagram.

    And Eleanor Roosevelt’s most-touted quote, “Do one thing every day that scares you”, adorns everything from office coffee mugs to wallpaper.

    believed these quotes once. My experience, however, taught me something different. When I pushed my comfort zone relentlessly, as the leadership experts advise, it led me straight into burnout. I learned the hard way to define — and, more importantly, to honor — the boundaries of my comfort zone. Since then, it has been a huge asset that has helped me make big strides.

  2. Use These 8 Words in Your Emails To Get People To Reply

    Nothing is more frustrating than pouring time into a well-written email only to be ghosted.

    Whether you’re reaching out to an influencer in an effort to build your network, pitching your services to prospective customers, or simply asking your boss a question, we pour a great deal of time and mental energy into our inboxes.

    That’s why it can be so discouraging to hear crickets. I’m sure you’ve been there before: you perseverate over every little word that goes into an email response, hit send, then proceed to constantly refresh your inbox until you hear back.

    It turns out there’s a very effective way to get people to reply to your emails, cutting down your stress with it.

    All it takes is showing some genuine appreciation. Science shows that a dose of pro-social pleasantries may more than double the odds your request earns a response.

    Just say thanks (science says so)

    study conducted by Wharton psychologists Adam Grant and Francesca Gino found that expressing gratitude increased email response rate by 66 percent. Specifically, simply adding the eight word phrase, “Thank you so much. I am very grateful” more than doubled response rates.

    Why? Appreciation a powerful intrinsic motivator that spurs people to action, particularly on behalf of other people. Helping others gives us a strong self-esteem boost.

    As Grant explains on Linkedin:

    My least favorite emails made demands instead of expressing appreciation. One person wrote, “We should definitely meet,” and another implored, “Please answer this question.” In my research, I’ve found that people provide more extensive and useful help when it’s an enjoyable choice than when it’s driven by perceived pressure or obligation….The punch line: a little thanks goes a long way, not only for encouraging busy people to help you, but also for motivating them to help others like you.

  3. How to Tell Your Boss You Have Too Much Work

    Busy periods are inevitable at any job. While stress can be manageable in the short term, if you don’t take steps to keep the pressure under control, it can lead to fatigue and burnout. Burnout refers to a collection of different physical, emotional, and mental reactions that occur in response to prolonged stress and overworking.

    Signs of burnout include:

    • Physical symptoms such as exhaustion most of the time, headaches, and muscle aches
    • Getting sick often
    • A negative attitude about work or your career
    • Feeling like everything is overwhelming or your efforts are futile
    • Neglecting your own needs, as if you’re a pushover
    • Withdrawing from new responsibilities, challenges, and people
    • Procrastinating, mainly avoidance or work or it taking long because you can’t concentrate
    • Short tempered, especially with colleagues
    • Difficulty sticking to regular self-care (i.e. exercise, eating well, etc.)
    • Loss of motivation and optimism

    While there’s nothing wrong with caring about your career, problems arise when work controls your feelings and behaviors. If you slip into the realm of burn out, it can take months, weeks, or even years to lift yourself out. That’s why it’s important to take proactive steps to manage the problem, starting with speaking to your boss about your workload.

    Here are a few tips for telling your manager when you have too much on your plate:

    1. Don’t enable workaholic behavior

    Reporting to someone who expects you to skip lunch and answer emails at all hours can be challenging, to say the least. 

  4. Handle Annoying Co-Workers Using These 3 Strategies

    Every workplace is filled with interesting personalities – including frustrating ones.

    If you feel like you’re surrounded by difficult people at the office, take heart, because you’re not alone. Studies have found that one in eight people leave a job due to problems with co-workers.

    Since we spend more time at work than at home (and considering quitting tomorrow isn’t an option for most people) it’s worthwhile to figure out ways to get along.

    Positive coping strategies may not only save your sanity, but they can also improve your well-being more than complaining ever will. In fact, learning to deal with difficult people can be a powerful way to develop your leadership skills.

    Type 1: The co-worker who hits you up on Slack to chat about office politics.

    Gossip is a compensatory strategy often used to cover low-self esteem or feelings of powerlessness. It’s likely your co-worker is communicating this way–albeit passively aggressively and manipulatively–to seek connection.

    Nonetheless, hanging around gossiping co-workers is energy draining. Plus, getting embroiled in rumor-mongering can damage your professional reputation.

    To disengage from this toxic cycle, use a simple formula: empathize and redirect.

    First validate your co-worker, letting them know they’re being heard. By saying something like “Ugh, it is frustrating to feel confused”, you’re not agreeing with or justifying their behavior, you’re simply mirroring how they feel without getting involved or talking about other people. Your focus is on them, which is probably their favorite subject anyway.

  5. How To Plan Your Most Productive Day In 10 Minutes or Less

    If you’re like me, you have a growing to-do list filled with big ideas to accomplish. Yet it might often seem like the day quickly gets away from you. Meetingsemails, social media, and other distractions suck up your time, along with your precious attention.

    Winning the day begins before you even sit down at your desk. Thoughtful planning and prioritization is the best way to play defense against the many tasks vying for your focus. Building in the opportunity for reflection, while difficult, is an instant productivity booster, allowing you to get more done in less time with greater impact.

    On a recent episode of the Accidental Creative podcast, author Todd Henry shared a simple 10-minute method you can use to optimize your schedule and create mental bandwidth for deep, creative work.

    He suggests sitting down at the beginning of the day to strategize, specifically following these steps:

    1. Ask yourself: At the end of the day, what would have to happen for me to say, “Today was a success?”

    Henry says, “Time is the currency of productivity, especially for creative professionals,” so make sure (to the extent possible) that your day effectively leverages your strengths, fulfills your values, satisfies important goals, and is filled with tasks or people that energize you.

    2. Define the problems you need to solve today.

    Doing this allows you to work backward and create a plan of attack, ensuring that you spend your time wisely in high-impact ways.

  6. If We Were Having Coffee Right Now, This Is What I’d Tell You

    It’s been a while since I shared a personal update. When I last caught up with you, I recently moved and summer was just beginning. Now that the New Year has come and gone, I thought it’d be a good time to sit down and fill you in on interesting things happening with me.

    Here’s what I would tell you if we were sitting down together over a cup of coffee:

    If we were having coffee today…I’d tell you that we’re just about finished moving in…nine months later (they say it takes a full year, right?). I adore working from my new office. It’s light, bright, and I now have an Uplift Desk. It’s magical. Previously, I used to stand for about 40 minutes a day, but now I stand for about 5-6 hours each work day. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram because I’ll be sharing photos of the new space soon.

    If we were having coffee today…I’d tell you that I’ve been gradually shifting to all natural personal care products as part of an overall goal to improve my health. I never realized how many harmful chemicals lurk in everyday skin and body items or the extent to which they could screw with your hormones, mental health and more. Recently I switched to aloe deodorant, switched to sulfate-free shampoo, and added a DIY apple cider vinegar toner to my regimen.

    If we were having coffee today…I’d tell you that lately I’ve been thinking about ways to streamline my time more effectively.

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